Archive for the ‘Septuagint’ Tag

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 59: Fingernails and claws in three texts   Leave a comment

The content of this post stems from a chance sighting of a word in the Altgeorgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch of Sarjveldze and Fähnrich: მოფრჩხენა “kratzen, zerkratzen” (794b). The lexicographers cite there the manuscript Jer.-149 (saints’ lives, 11th cent.), 144r, lines 14-16:

ფრჩხილითა თუისითა მოჰფრჩხენდა პირსა მისსა

Mit seiner Fingernägeln zerkratzte er ihm sein Gesicht.

  • ფრჩხილი (also ფრცხილი) fingernail, claw
  • თუისითა = თჳსითა
  • მო-ჰ-ფრჩხენ-დ-ა impf 3sg მოფრჩხენა to scratch, claw

He was scratching his face with his fingernails.

This reference to fingernails or claws brought to my mind Dan 4:33 (Theodotion):

αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ὁ λόγος συνετλέσθη ἐπὶ Ναβουχοδονοσορ, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐξεδιώχθη καὶ χόρτον ὡς βοῦς ἤσθιεν, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δρόσου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ ἐβάφη, ἕως οὗ αἱ τρίχες αὐτοῦ ὡς λεόντων ἐμεγαλύνθησαν καὶ οἱ ὄνυχες αὐτοῦ ὡς ὀρνέων.

At the same time, the sentence was completed against Nabouchodonosor, and he was driven away from humans and ate grass like an ox, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven until his hair lengthened like that of lions and his nails like those of birds. (NETS)

In Georgian (Oshki/Jer), Dan 4:30 (= Theod) is as follows:

მასვე ჟამსა შინა აღესრულა ნაბუქოდონოსორის ზედა, და კაცთაგან განიდევნა, და თივასა ვითარცა ზროხაჲ ჭამდა, და ცუარისაგან ცისა ჴორცნი მისნი შეიღებნეს, ვიდრემდე თმანი მისნი ვითარცა ლომისანი იქმნნეს, და ფრცხილნი მისნი ვითარცა მფრინველისანი.

  • აღ-ე-სრულ-ა aor 3sg აღსრულება to complete, fulfill, end (also kill)
  • გან-ი-დევნ-ა aor pass 3sg განდევნა to drive out, chase away
  • თივაჲ grass, hay
  • ზროხაჲ cow
  • ჭამ-დ-ა impf 3sg ჭამა to eat
  • ცუარი dew
  • შე-ი-ღებ-ნ-ეს aor pass 3pl შეღებვა to dip, wet
  • თმაჲ hair
  • ლომი lion
  • ი-ქმნ-ნ-ეს aor pass 3pl ქმნა to make
  • ფრცხილი fingernail, claw (ფრჩხილი above)
  • მფრინველი bird

Finally, one more verse with nails/claws came to mind: Lev 11:4.

πλὴν ἀπὸ τούτων οὐ φάγεσθε· ἀπὸ τῶν ἀναγόντων μηρυκισμὸν καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν διχηλούντων τὰς ὁπλὰς καὶ ὀνυχιζόντων ὀνυχιστῆρας· τὸν κάμηλον, ὅτι ἀνάγει μηρυκισμὸν τοῦτο, ὁπλὴν δὲ οὐ διχηλεῖ, ἀκάθαρτον τοῦτο ὑμῖν·

ხოლო მათგანი არა შჭამოთ, რომელნი აღმოიცოხნიან და რომელთაჲ არა განყოფილ არს ჭლაკი და რომელნი ფრცხენენ ფრცხილითა: აქლემი, რამეთუ აღმოიცოხნის და ჭლაკი მისი არა განპებულ არს, არაწმიდა არს ესე თქუენდა

  • შ-ჭამ-ო-თ aor conj 2pl ჭამა to eat [with სჭ > შჭ]
  • აღმო-ი-ცოხნ-ი-ან pres 3pl აღმოცოხნა to ruminate, chew the cud
  • განყოფილი divided, split
  • ჭლაკი hoof
  • ფრცხენ-ენ pres 3pl ფრცხენა (as with the noun, also ფრჩხენა) to scratch
  • აქლემი camel
  • აღმო-ი-ცოხნ-ი-ს pres 3sg აღმოცოხნა to ruminate, chew the cud
  • განპებული split, torn (განპება to split, tear) [NB a different word than that above, even though referring to the same thing; cf. the Greek]
  • არაწმიდაჲ impure

So we have three texts, one a manuscript citation of an unpublished text (at least as far as I know) in a lexicon, and two from the Bible, all stemming from one word: ფრცხილი and its variant ფრჩხილი. I hope it’s obvious that these lexical and textual chains can be instructive for language-learners and philologists generally.

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Two important Syriac books from OI (Chicago)   Leave a comment

For some time the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago has very generously made available PDFs of its great store of books in Egyptology, Assyriology, archaeology, history, etc. Very recently the accessibility of two books of definite interest for Syriac scholars have been announced:

This is part I, but that is all that appeared. The only complete edition is that from the Bar-Hebraeus Verlag, 2003. Full information on manuscripts, editions, and studies will be found in Hidemi Takahashi’s always handy Barhebraeus: A Bio-Bibliography (Piscataway, 2005), 147-173.

Lagarde, with his interest in the Greek versions of the Hebrew Bible had worked on this Syriac text before and published it (as he did for other works) in Hebrew script (see here for bibliography of Epiphanios in Syriac). I cannot refrain from quoting Sprengling’s humorous report (p. ix) on Lagarde:

…our last predecessor in a similar undertaking [work on the Syriac Bible], the curious Paul de Lagarde of Göttingen. Lagarde had therefore undertaken an extensive study and a series of editions of this Epiphanius material. In his usual fashion he scattered this work around in a series of odd publications, many of them in small editions. These are not easy to get and, when obtained, generally not easy to use. The Syriac text, for example, he printed in Hebrew letters, because there was no Syriac type in Göttingen. His translation into German is curious. In various notes voicing his disgust and alleging (a thing Lagarde does not often admit) his incompetence, he shows that this was to him no labor of love. Jülicher’s statement in Pauly-Wissowa that the text is “sehr schlect ediert” by Lagarde is, indeed, too harsh a judgement. But a better, more easily accessible, more usable, and in every way more definitive edition than that of Lagarde, dated 1880, was clearly called for.

Hence the book by Dean, now eminently accessible after not being so for many years.
The Greek fragments of Epiphanios’ work (CPG 3746, cf. 3747) are not all that remains in addition to the Syriac: Georgian (CSCO 460-461, by M. van Esbroeck) and Armenian (CSCO 583, by M. Stone and R. Ervine) witnesses have also been published since the time of Dean’s Syriac text. In this work, interesting in and of itself, we have another opportunity for cross-linguistic comparison.

So, hats off to the OI for sharing its resources!

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